I grew up in the 70’s before video games and cable television. Being outside was our only form of entertainment. We were always riding bikes and motorcycles, building huts, playing war games… and I’ve never grown out of it. I prefer being away from the rattle and clang of society.
When did you first start hunting/fishing?
I started fishing pretty young, probably 6 or 7, with my Grandma McLelland. She was a strong outdoorswoman that came through the depression with amazing skills for foraging, hunting, and fishing. She might be the best survivalist I’ve ever met, because she actually used those skills daily for many years. I didn’t start actually hunting until 5 or 6 years ago (I’m 44). The interest was always there, but life distractions took me in other directions for a long time.
What is one of your most memorable outdoor moments?
My first year of hunting archery I had always gone out with a partner that was showing me the ropes. He couldn’t make it one day, so I set off alone at zero dark. It was a cloudy moonless night, but the trail was just visible as I crawled up the mountains into the aspen to my favorite meadow. Along the way there was a small lake before the real climb. As I crept along the trail I heard a “WHHHHMMMMMMMPPPPFFFF” that was so loud I felt it in my stomach and the hair on my neck stood straight up. I had never heard this sound before, and immediately thought “Oh Shit. Bigfoot.” I froze, notched an arrow and spun a slow 360 degree turn, but couldn’t see anything. “WHMMPF” again, now I’m panicking because it’s maybe 10 yards away. I started moving up the trail trying to get some sort of vision on whatever monster was telling me to GTFO. Finally, I got far enough away that my instincts settled down and I carried on with the hunt. I called my more experienced buddy later that day and told him what happened, and he explained that the Bull Moose that lives at that lake was rutting and probably thought I was a female moose…. HAHAHAHA
What is your favorite animal to hunt?
Archery Elk. The challenge is immense, and I like the terrain and season. There is nothing in the world like hearing Elk bugles at the break of dawn.
Why do you think hunting/fishing is important in today's modern age?
I think it is incredibly important to connect with the natural world and with our ancestral instincts. In the modern age we don’t face a lot of adversity that is reality based. So much of our fussing and fighting comes from the virtual world. Getting out and pushing your limits physically and mentally is the antidote to all the BS of the modern age. Hunting is about so much more than the harvest.
What is something you would like to share with non-hunters out there?
Give it a chance. There is a lot of anti-hunting perspectives floating around on social media, and unfortunately, a lot of it comes from a genuine place but not an educated place. The biologists and wilderness management agencies are pre-eminent conservationists and should be respected for their knowledge and hard work. Wildlife management isn’t a choice anymore, the explosion of humanity makes it necessary. So if you’re not hunting because you think its cruel, or anti animal, or anti conservation – consider spending your hostility on industrial farming and animal breeding. Hunting is compassionate; without population control many of these big game herds would grow to such a degree that they would end up starved for resources due to the fact that humanity has made such an enormous impact on natural predation. The other issue I see often is that despite the few assholes that get all the attention, the majority of hunters are ethical, intelligent, and greatly concerned about environmental issues.